comscore Gifted soloists | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Gifted soloists

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now
    Vocalist and pianist Ruth Shiroma Foster will perform at her first solo concert recital, Wednesday at Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen St.

This week features two solo recitals that mark a first and a last for the performers.

Last thing’s first. Tomorrow, young organist Joey Fala will perform his senior recital at Central Union Church. It will be the last local appearance for a while for the recent ‘Iolani grad, who has performed regularly for services and concerts as the Organ Scholar at Central Union Church. Fala will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to study architecture in the fall.

Fala became fascinated with the organ as a kindergartner, when he spied the organ console at ‘Iolani Chapel and asked his parents and teachers about it. "No one knew what this thing was," he said. "It was the kind of mystery that got me interested in it."

In fifth grade he wrote a poem about the organ, prompting his teacher to contact organist Katherine Crosier, who secured a scholarship for him to take organ lessons. Fala had been taking piano lessons but admits now that he was settling for that instrument.


Where: Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St.

When: 5 p.m. tomorrow

Cost: Free

Info: 722-2061



Where: Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Cost: $10

Info: 688-8055 or


"I just grabbed them because that was what I wanted in the first place," he said.

Crosier, who has been his teacher for eight years, said he is a special talent. "He has been an absolutely gifted and devoted organist from the beginning," she said.

Fala’s free performance begins at 5 p.m. and features the music of Stanley, Franck, Bach, Hebble and Messian.

"There are so many different people who have helped me immensely and who supported me," he said. "This is just a small way to show them how far I’ve come and how appreciative I am of all their help."

On Wednesday, pianist and vocalist Ruth Shiroma Foster appears at Fresh Cafe in Kakaako. Foster regularly performs with other musicians, but this will be her first foray at a solo performance.

Foster, who grew up in Waianae, played music in church and jammed with local musicians, learning to play gospel, Hawaiian and what she calls a "gypsy" style. She took piano and voice lessons, but it was an interest in classical music, which developed in her mid-20s, that took her interest to a new level.

"I began to see the beauty in the music. I’d just thought it was a lot of mechanics, about the musicians showing off their virtuosity, but I couldn’t make the connection to the music," said Foster, who now counts Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as one of her favorite pieces.

She began composing her own works soon afterward. "I had reached a transitional stage in my life," she said. "I was still trying to find out who I was, and that’s when I started composing myself."

The results have been rewarding. In 2009 she won the Kauai Music Festival Songwriter Search with her song "Fingerprints."

She has no qualms about performing solo for the first time.

"I want it to be intimate, emotional and meaningful for anyone who happens to come," said Foster, who will perform some of her own works and some standards. "It doesn’t matter if only 10 people show up."


Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up